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Woodland champion honoured

Michael Jonas MBE
Michael Jonas MBE
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
Gobions Woodland Trust's Michael Jonas has been awarded an MBE for his work with nature conservation.

Michael, who was responsible for founding the trust, received the award in the birthday honours list published today.

The citation states that the honour is "for Services to Nature Conservation in Hertfordshire".

It was Michael Jonas who, in 1985, galvanised the local community into raising funds to purchase Gobions Wood. As a consequence, the wood is now open to the public at all times.

During the 30 years that he has lived in Brookmans Park, Michael has voluntarily led many other nature conservation initiatives, from organising litter picking to chairing the Welwyn Hatfield Environmental Network.

However, it is for his work in Gobions that Michael is best known. Since the purchase of the land in 1986, he has run work parties, to maintain the wood, almost every weekend.

Peter Bennett, one of the first volunteers on the weekly work parties, said, "If it wasnít for Michael Jonas, we would not have the splendid amenity of Gobions Wood open to the public."

Another long-time supporter, Mike Brazier, explained that Michael, with the support of his wife Linda, gathered a team, consisting of an accountant, a solicitor and a land agent, to implement the complicated land purchase.

"A successful outcome was by no means certain, but Michaelís determination won the day.

"You can see the results of Michaelís work over the years since the purchase of the land. For instance, the bridges and paths have made public access easy, while conserving wildlife habitats," he said.

Michael Jonas was keen to share the award with all those who have helped make Gobions what it is.

"I am very pleased that the work of the volunteers and the generosity of the friends of the trust has been publicly recognised," he said.

You can read more about the work of Gobions Woodland Trust in this site's environment section.

A booklet about the history of Gobions is reproduced in full on this site.

You can add any comments on Michael's award in this site's forum.

14 June 2003

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